UK police add computer probe to phone-hack inquiry

London police probing phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's defunct News of the World tabloid are broadening their investigation to allegations of computer hacking, they said on Saturday.

A new investigative team will be set up to tackle the new allegations, reporting to Sue Akers, the officer in charge of the phone hacking probe, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement.

"Operation Tuleta is currently considering a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy, received by the MPS since January 2011, which fall outside the remit of (phone-hacking) Operation Weeting, including computer hacking," the statement by the London police force said.

"Some aspects of this operation will move forward to a formal investigation."

London police reopened their investigation into phone hacking in January, shortly after the prime minister's communications chief, Andy Coulson, resigned because of allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World while he was the paper's editor.

The paper's royal reporter Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 for intercepting the voicemail messages of royal aides.

On Friday Mulcaire issued a statement through his lawyer saying he was not acting on his own initiative when he intercepted phone messages while in the pay of the newspaper.

Allegations of hacking at News Corp's British newspapers, in particular reports that journalists accessed the voicemails of murder victims, have triggered a judicial inquiry and calls by some politicians to cap News Corp's media ownership.

The scandal has led to News Corp dropping its $12 billion bid for the 61 percent of pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB it does not own.

[Source: Reuters, London, 30Jul11]

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